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Review Of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, By Chelsea Franks

1353 words - 6 pages

The title, “The Jungle” (Upton Sinclair. The Jungle. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2005), when dissected after having read it, denotes Upton Sinclair’s view of the time period, where Capitalism was the corrupted script for people’s lives rather than Socialism. Throughout the course of the book Upton Sinclair explores, in depth, the evils levied upon stockyard workers, as a result of Capitalism, to include family and immigration, while narrowly serving his own agenda of pushing the concept of Socialism.
Sinclair entered the world, in the state of Maryland, in 1878. Though he was technically born into the Southern aristocracy, the timing was such that his family was now feeling the ill effects of poverty due to the depressed state of the economy at the time. Upon his venture into college Sinclair began writing as a means to pay for not only the necessities of life, but also, as a way to finance his education. As a result of his research and writings, Upton became an avid supporter of the philosophy of Socialism. He found it necessary to immerse himself in the lives of the stockyard workers, of the era, to report fully the truths about industrialization. Due to the nature of his job as a journalist of the time, Sinclair was absolutely one of the best candidates, or experts on this particular subject matter. Upton’s approach to writing was that of a Muckraker, or journalistic approach, which clearly exposes the wrongs of industrialization.
Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, is a novel, or story which paints a clear picture of Capitalism via a complex theme, using characters that reveal themselves as they evolve over time, using both their thoughts and actions to tell the tale. Additionally, this novel uses its characters to expose the evils inflicted on families and workers during the period of industrialization. Upton Sinclair’s sole premise of writing The Jungle was to help foster the Socialist Movement; he wanted to see widespread change for immigrants venturing into the United States.
Upton’s priority was to expose Capitalism for what it truly was, exploitation of namely immigrant stockyard workers. “ Here was a population, low-class and mostly foreign hanging always on the verge of starvation, and dependent upon the whim of men every bit as brutal and unscrupulous as the old-time slave drivers; under such circumstances immorality was exactly as inevitable, and as prevalent, as it was under the system chattel slavery. Things that were quite unspeakable went on there in the packing houses all the time, and were taken for granted by everybody; only they did not show, as in the old slavery times, because there was no difference in color between master and slave (Sinclair 10).” It is evident through the deterioration of Jurgis’ immigrant family the effects that Capitalism had on the working class. To clarify what is meant by the deterioration of Jurgis’ family, it is important to note that his families’ view of America was that of acceptance,...

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